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Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) has agreed with NFEnergía, the local New Fortress Energy affiliate, to supply LNG and convert Units 5&6 of the San Juan power plant. The diesel-to-gas conversion of these two combined-cycle power units is expected to generate about $750 million in fuel cost savings.

Striving to achieve universal electricity access, utilities invested $500 million globally in off-grid energy access last year. Though investments in energy access grew another 22% in 2018, after surging 37% the year before, Wood Mackenzie says “total volumes still fall well short of the estimated financing needed to reach universal electricity access globally by 2030.”

Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has filed to Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) of the Philippines, requesting to end interim power supply agreements prior to the next Malampaya gas field maintenance – but the regulator wants utilities to keep producing electricity from condensate. The upcoming October shutdown will affect gas supply to three of Luzon’s major power plants: Santa Rita (1,000 MW), San Lorenzo (500 MW) and Ilijan (1,200 MW).

As Japanese utilities keep restarting shuttered nuclear power units, analysts say the return of cheap nuclear power will displace baseload generation from fossil sources, in particular natural gas. Japan has to import its entire gas demand as LNG, which is more costly than thermal coal, so a rise in nuclear power output is forecast to reduce LNG shipments by up to 10% this year.

Norway’s Golar LNG has started to unload the first commissioning cargo at its Golar Nanook FSRU (floating storage and regas unit) offshore Sergipe, northeastern Brazil. The supply is designated for the Porto de Sergipe-I Power Project, a 1.5GW combined-cycle gas power plant, developed by Golar in a joint venture with Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners.

U.S. major ExxonMobil, together with Qatar Petroleum, has made a gas discovery of 5-8 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) its Glaucus-1 well off Cyprus. The find adds another giant discovery to the East Mediterranean but a lack of subsea pipelines hamper the use of this gas in the local power sector, so Exxon considers teaming up with other majors to monetize the find through a new LNG venture.

Electric load at the MISO grid in the Midwest of the United States was pushed to its limits during the recent period of extreme cold weather in late January. According to EIA figure, day-ahead gas spot prices reached $7.42/MMBtu) at Chicago, the main hub in the region, while MISO day-ahead electricity prices surged to $120/MWh.

Enagas, the Spanish gas network and LNG terminal operator, has announced construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) - part of Europe’s Southern Gas Corridor - is 85% complete. Enagas saw a 1% rise in its 2018 annual profit to 442.6 million Euros amid a 4.5% increase in conventional gas demand.

Spanish-owned Scottish Power has unveiled its “biggest ever investment in the UK in a single year," announcing to splash out £2 billion on green energy in 2019. Programmes include building giant batteries to store excess energy at wind farms, investing in smart grids for customers to buy and sell electricity, and charging points for electric cars.

U.S. engineering company McDermott International has posted a fourth-quarter loss, largely due to $2.2 billion in charges related to works on Cameron LNG and Freeport LNG and higher construction costs for Calpine’s York 2 Energy Center. The Houston-based McDermott today reported a net fourth quarter loss of $2.8 billion – a stark contrast to its $26 million profit in Q4-2017.

Natural gas will become the fastest-growing energy source in the coming decade, displacing coal as a fuel for power plants and heavy industries, Royal Dutch Shell said in its 2019 LNG Outlook 2019. Global energy demand is seen grow 18% by 2035, spurred by clean-air policies in China and India, with gas set to meet 40% of that largely through expanding LNG trade.

Economic growth, combined with a rapidly expanding population, has led to an investment boost in the Indonesian power sector which is forecast to quadruple in size over the coming decade, growing at a 18.7% rate to reach $63.6 billion in market value by 2022. Coal-fired power will retain its leading position while decentralized LNG-fuelled projects also gain attractiveness.

Nuclear restarts and rising coal-burn for power generation has decreased LNG imports to Japan. Nine of Japan's 54 nuclear power plants have re-started, leading to a 8.7% drop in LNG shipments to 7.54 million tonnes in January, down from 8.26 mt a year earlier.

Reciprocating internal combustion engines –  typically used for backup, standby, or emergency power – are playing a fast advancing role in utility-scale power generation applications, according to EIA findings. In Texas alone, the share of gas-fired recip engines surged 20% to over 4,600 MW largely as a reaction to the state’s rapid growth in installed wind power capacity.

The Japanese energy majors JERA and Tepco Power Grid have agreed to jointly invest up to $32.68 billion (£25 million) in Zenobe Energy, a UK-based battery storage company. Zenobe owns and operates some 73 MW of batteries and is currently looking to use its technology in related business areas, notably the charging of electric vehicles.

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News in Brief

Evol LNG helps power Australian gold mine

June 18 – Kirkalocka Gold Mine in Western Australia will use Evol LNG to fuel Zenith Energy’s 14.5 MW power station with regasified natural gas starting from September 2019. The mine is run by Adaman Resources and had been relying on diesel to cover its energy needs. Based on the current diesel price, Adaman Resources expects to reduce fuel costs by more than A$13 million (US$9 million) during the first six years of operation of the new onsite LNG-to-Power plant.

Shell Energy ordered to refund overcharged UK customers

June 17 – UK energy regulator Ofgem has ordered Shell Energy Retail to refund around 12000 customers who were overcharged after the Government’s cap on gas and electricity prices came into force in January. Shell Energy Retail s agreed to refund these customers by paying £29,000 in compensation (£5 per fuel), and also pay an additional £200,000 into Ofgem’s voluntary redress fund.

BASF enters battery market

June 14 – German chemical company BASF is using NGK Insulators’ sodium sulfur batteries as its entry point into the energy market. The Japanese manufacturer NGK is currently the only maker of the large-scale sodium sulfur (NAS) batteries, capable to store several hours of energy. A joint project in northern Germany uses NAS batteries that store energy for five hours, while a recently completed project in Abu Dhabi using 108MW / 648MWh of the systems with a full six hours storage duration.

CNPC boosts domestic gas production

June 13 – China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the largest Chinese oil and gas company, has announced plans for domestic natural gas output to reach 55% of overall domestic supply by 2025. Last year, CNPC managed to boost production by 5.9% to reach 138.02 billion cubic metres, while also increasing imports of pipeline gas and LNG.

Gazprom taps new gas deposits for Nord Stream 2

June 12 – Gazprom is fast-tracking hydrocarbon production in northwest Russia to boost reserves for export through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline (55 Bcm/y), currently being built through the Baltic Sea. At a meeting with Nord Stream shareholders, Gazprom noted that its Yuzhno-Russkoye field has yielded about 276 Bcm of natural gas, including 0.9 Bcm of hard-to-recover Turonian gas, since the start of operations. Turonian gas reserves, consisting of about 99% methane with no heavy residues, lie at a depth of 800–850 meters in reservoirs with low permeability. Commercial production at the Turonian deposit is scheduled to start in late 2019.

PG&E turns off electricity to avoid wild fires

June 11 – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has turned off electricity for some Californian communities at risk of a wildfire during the lastest heat wave. The authorized blackout started on Saturday in Napa, Solano and Yolo counties, with electricity being gradually restored over the course of Monday. Approximately 16,000 customers have been affected.

Gazprom to build power plants in Serbia

June 10 – Gazprom Energoholding has signed an Agreement of Intent (AoI) to build an upgrade several gas-fired power plants in Serbia. Together with Novi Sad, Gazprom Energoholding is already building a CCGT with some 200 MW capacity near a refinery in the Serbian town of Pancevo.

U.S. fund splashes out $4bn to buy El Paso Electric

June 7 – Infrastructure Investment Fund (IIF), a private investment vehicle within J.P. Morgan Inc., has agreed to acquire the U.S. utility El Paso Electric Co for $68.25 per share in a cash transaction. The enterprise value on the transaction is estimated at $4.3 billion. El Paso Electric customers will receive a total $21 million in bill credits over three years.

Caterpillar gensets back up Finnish data center

June 6 – The Swedish telecom giant Telia has ordered 12 Caterpillar gensets to provide standby emergency power to back up operations at its new data center in Helsinki. The Cat dealer Witraktor figured a system which includes eight Cat 3516B and four 3516E generator sets. The Telia Helsinki Data Center is the largest such facility in Finland, and its primary electric power supply comes from a combination of wind, hydroelectric and biomass.

Capstone wins orders in Iraq

June 5 – Micro-turbine producer Capstone has secured an order for two C600 Signature Series microturbines to provide 1.2 MW of energy to power a triethylene glycol (TEG) dehydration facility near Basra, in southern Iraq. The contract also includes Capstone’s new self-cleaning pulse filtration system, allowing the turbines to better withstand hot and sandy conditions with minimal maintenance.

Gas to supply record 43% of US power needs

June 4 – This summer, natural gas is forecast to cover between 40% and 43% of 2019 peak electricity demand in all U.S. states except Texas, according to projections by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Gas demand soared to nearly 10,700 billion cubic feet (Bcf) last summer, a 16% rise from 2017 levels. Should there be another heat wave this year, that record may well be broken. Capacity wise, natural gas is on course to top its 45% share in the U.S. power mix.

Lukoil to upgrade CHP at Krasnodar

June 3 – Russia’s oil and gas company Lukoil has received government approval to modernize and expand three combined heat and power units in Krasnodar. The gas-fired CHP units have more than 400,000 hours and ran an average 74% utilization rate, the operator said. The upgrade will add 150 MW of power generation capacity and Lukoil said it expects the revamped power plant to be ready for commissioning as early as 2022.

GE commissions Al-Qudus CCGT in Iraq

May 31 – GE Power has installed and commissioned a new 9E gas turbine at the Al-Qudus combined-cycle gas power plant, run by the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity’s (MoE). The CCGT was previously capable of generating up to 1,125 MW and the turbine upgrade adds another 125 MW of capacity.

Groundbreaking takes place for Ohio CCGT project

May 30 – This Thursday morning, groundbreaking will take place for the $500 million Long Ridge Energy Generation Project in Hannibal, Ohio. Long Ridge, a 485 MW combined-cycle power project, is being developed by Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors (FTAI). It will create up to 350 construction jobs and some 25 permanent jobs. The CCGT is expected to open in 2021.

Asia to spend more on renewables than oil & gas by 2020

May 29 – Utilities in Asia-Pacific region will invest more in renewables than on oil and gas exploration by 2020. Total capital expenditure in renewables will rise above $30 billion in the region by 2020, according to forecast of the consultancy Rystad Energy. India, Australia, Japan, Vietnam and South Korea will led the way in Asia’s green energy transition.

Ichthys LNG looses court claim against power sub-contractor

May 28 – JKC Australia LNG consortium, developer of the US$34 billion Inpex-built Ichthys LNG plant near Darwin, has lost a US$1.9 billion court case claim against a power station sub-contractor. Construction of the power station was subcontracted to UGL-led group which CIMIC took over in 2016 and subsequently cancelled the Ichthys power contract. The Western Australian Supreme Court in Perth now dismissed an application by JKC Australia LNG for upfront payment of damages. The power plant’s five gas turbines have already been handed over to Inpex, and KBR aims for the plant to be ready for commissioning this autumn.

San Miguel Energy claims $6.19bn subsidy for Ilijan plant

May 24 – South Premier Power Corp. (SPPC), San Miguel Energy’s development vehicle for the 1,200-MW Ilijan gas power project, has claimed that it already paid $6.19 billion in subsidies to state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp (PSALM) for its financial obligations as independent administrator. The build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract for the Ilijan plant will expire in 2022; and by that time, SPPC will get ownership of the plant.